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Harmonica Lessons: 6th Hole Overblows

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[MUSIC]
And then this gets a lot easier.
[MUSIC]
And you can hear if I do it slowly.
[MUSIC]
You can hear the G going down and
then the B flat coming out.
What's really going on inside there is,
the A reed is making the sound.
It is bending up to an A sharp.
The G reed is going [sound]and
it's going [sound].
And it's creating a vacuum in the chamber.
It's sustaining this,
it's reaching its maximum
point of being bent which it can't go cuz
there's nothing below it to interact with.
And the A reed which is anchored towards
you like this on the bottom, which you
don't think you're playing at all, is the
one that's making the sound of A sharp.
And what's more, once you get
control over this thing you can
actually push that sound up because
it's not naturally in tune.
It's just a bend,
it just is a little higher than A.
[MUSIC]
Like that.
[MUSIC]
It's in the crack between A and B flat.
[MUSIC]
If I really push it and
go [SOUND] [LAUGH].
[MUSIC]
[SOUND] I can make it go all the way
up to a C
[MUSIC].
So, to get these things
in tune is really tricky.
At first you'll just be happy just to
get it, and if it's anywhere close to
a B-flat, if you're trying to play a minor
blues lick with that minor third in it.
[MUSIC]
See I went up to the sixth hole.
[MUSIC]
I'm blowing on six.
[MUSIC]
And then I apply that pressure of
an overblow and the G goes up to a B flat.
[MUSIC]
And then I draw on A
[MUSIC]
and blow on G again.
[MUSIC]
And then it just becomes a very natural
sounding blues lick,
just like any guitarist would play.
[MUSIC]
Which they quite often do.
And so now, it places the harmonica
on this level playing field with any
other instrument that's playing the blues.
For now, if you can get that and
play one little lick with an overblow,
you're doing really great.
And sometimes, it makes it easier for
people to play
[MUSIC]
to do the draw note first, and then to try
to that bending down of the blow note
[MUSIC]
because when the draw note is vibrating
it's easier to activate it to
bend up with the over blow.
So I can hit it just dead on nowadays.
[MUSIC].
But it will take some doing for you,
who are first learning how to do this,
to get it right.
Some harmonicas when you do this,
will squeak and
the reason for that is,
that all harmonicas are not created equal.
And it depends on the type
of brass that was used, and
it also depends on the actual
dimensions of the reed.
If you buy ones by Lee Oskar and some
of the other companies where the reeds
are actually wider and a little
shorter and thinner, it's the same
amount of metal to make the same pitch,
but the profile of the read is different.
And when you try to put this kind of
pressure on a blow reed, to become
the closing reed in the chamber, it freaks
out and it squeals and it makes this very
high pitched sound like feedback,
and that's just the facts of life.
I always had the best success with
Hohner harmonicas and continue to do so.
So I think that's about all I can
say about getting a sixth hole
overblow for now.
[MUSIC]
Beside for the fact,
don't bite down on the harmonica.
Resist the urge to bite down and
to think that the word overblow
means you have to blow harder.
This is a mistake.
I can do this at a whisper.
[MUSIC]
I don't know if you can even hear that.
It's all just like a bend.
It's all about the resonance of
the inside of your mouth and
the position of your tongue.
So,once you know that,
if you adjust those reeds on the harmonica
it really is a tremendous help and
you'll be able to get this more easily
than you think if you're prepared
by knowing how to bend the blow reeds
by bending eight and nine especially.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Now I'm gonna play it several times
in several different ways and
you can play it along with me.
Here we go.
[MUSIC]
The next one
I'm gonna do
six draw first.
[MUSIC]
Now I'm
gonna do six blow,
six draw,
overblow.
[MUSIC]